I’m going to be honest. a lot of new books of poetry make me want to vomit, and not in the “omigod I had so much fun last night and this will make me feel instantly better” kind of way. I’m tired of reading poems that apocalyptically post-ironic (a plague of frogs?/awesome, I’ll wear/my urban outfitters/apocalypse-cut v-neck/and look ambivalent) by poets who think the word “trochee” refers to a kind of street drug. I’m tired of reading little square books with ultra-hip two-color matte covers (or is glossy coming back?) whose interiors have the intellectual nutritional value of aspartame cotton candy. this is why I don’t review books of poetry, and why I have not for many months read a book of poetry that post-dates blake.

but, like all very vain people, I make exceptions for the exceptionally lovely, which is why I curled up with lisa marie basile‘s (editor of the totally rad patasola press) andalucía (brothel books) the other night, along with a bottle of francis coppola petit syrah (chosen, if I’m being honest, because the label went well with my nail polish. lisa marie is one of those people who you are fairly certain does not exist. she is more like a girl from a botticelli painting who somehow escaped the canvas but then got turned into a bronze statue and three centuries later decided to start walking around new york city and writing poems.

one day the statuette finds herself in andalucía. andalucía is not in time and space but of it, creating, destroying, and re-building its own locatability to suit the dramatic needs of the production which is being in andalucía; or, andalucía is Poetry. it is at once a place of punishment and a paradise: “I am drugged by moon shine and sea-salt…Bad girls go to Andalucía…”. it is an un-speakable, and yet, to get to andalucía one must find a way to utter the un-utterable shibboleth, prove their worth through deeds, punishable activities: romanticism, the lyric, faith, having a body, knowing the de-naturing of bodies, eating, breathing. to get to andalucía, to stay there, one must be a criminal of this particularly poetic variety; once there, the prisoner could not survive leaving.

the poems in andalucía are the brides of themselves, always blushing, about to commit some early indiscretion. they stutter and ebb and make themselves huge and small, congealing to form a monstrous beauty that tears at the fabric of its own gown. the discreet, untitled (nothing in andalucía needs or deserves a name, everything is a component of place) poems of which the book is composed form a horrifyingly lovely army, reminiscent of the cadre of sister-brides at the end of charles mee’s play big love, who run around murdering all of their would-be husbands.

the flaming white pony of andalucia

all of this violence (and there is a lot of violence: the horrors of sitting in a chaise lounge, of making lemonade, “carving lemons forever/forever so long/so long/I forget how to speak/and o, I like to speak!” the terrors of embodiment: “to wear myself like a cloak with a human head and/jaguar spine.”) towards the end of returning to some moment of liquidity, returning to the perpetual feminine/domestic sphere of the sea: “(It always felt so good to see my mother/exasperated, but this is different./This is eternal.)

you can buy Andalucía here, and you should. maybe one day you’ll get to meet lisa marie in new york or spain or the ocean and she will kiss it for you and then it will be a relic, and everyone should own at least one relic.


the lady herself

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